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Finance teams begin training ready for new efficiency demands

Finance teams in 39 forces have signed up to a new training programme to develop the next generation of finance leaders.
Published - 09/07/2021 By - Chris Smith

Finance teams have begun a new programme backed by the National Police Chefs’ Council to enable them to meet increasing demands for efficiencies.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), the official body that oversees force finance, confirmed the launch of the latest stage of Achieving Finance Excellence in Policing (AFEP), with more than 85% of UK police forces participating.

The programme, developed with the NPCC and supported by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), is the latest stage in a two year initiative to upskill force finance staff.

It covers all aspect of financial management service delivery, budget management, policy decision making, and delivery of financial best practice.

Its focus will shift to fostering talent in police finance teams and spreading financial awareness across organisations.

Officers working for Police and Crime Commissioners are also accessing the programme, which has the backing of the Police and Crime Commissioners Treasurers Society (PACCTS).

Forces are under pressure to balance the books against a tight central government yearly grant that does not allow for long-term financial planning. 

And the funding gap is likely to get bigger; City of London's Federation wrote to the force's board members earlier this week warning them not to make cuts despite financial pressures.

So the core purpose, according to CIPFA, is to “encourage collaboration and best practice across UK police forces” to support the Home Office drive for “greater efficiency and more effective processes”.

The first stage launched in 2019 with 35 forces participating. It addressed three areas in policing: data, financial management and people.

AFEP participants have access to a long-term programme of professional support, including data dashboards, events, training opportunities, publications and content tailored specifically to their needs.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA Chief Executive, said: ‘‘In the current climate, it is more important than ever to ensure that frontline responders and the teams that support them have the tools needed to get the job done efficiently.

‘‘The AFEP programme was created with police, for police. The programme’s flexible approach to training and people development will be crucial in developing the next generation of leaders in police finance,” he said.

A finance lead within one of the UK’s biggest forces said the programme was already delivering benefits.

Neil Chamberlain, Director of Commercial Services at West Midlands Police, said: "The AFEP programme has enabled both my finance team and myself personally to access a range of professional support.

"CIPFA have provided fantastic support across the Policing sector even funding for PQ scholarships. The array of training opportunities within AFEP II not only provides great CPD but also facilitate essential networking opportunities to build relationships with others in similar roles from other Forces and PCCs."

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